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Dolebury Warren

PUBLISHED: 16:19 25 February 2013 | UPDATED: 22:20 26 February 2013

Liz Pitman offers her thoughts on Dolebury Warren, an SSSI near Churchill which is owned by the National Trust and managed by Avon Wildlife Trust.

Somerset Life reader Liz Pitman offers her thoughts on Dolebury Warren, an SSSI near Churchill which is owned by the National Trust and managed by Avon Wildlife Trust.


I sit on the thin grass and look out into a landscape where now there are only neatly laid out fields but, in my imagination, I hear the sough and sigh of wind in the forests that once covered this land.


Fantasy could weave a story of how a giant's hand scooped and burrowed out the earth inside this fort, throwing it in a spraying of stones and roots and soil to make the embankments that edge it. Instead, as I sit here, with the sun warming my skin and I hear a skylark singing with such beauty that my throat aches and the world is stilled with peace, I imagine my ancestors here, in a storm-tossed world, building their fort in these Mendip hills. Bending, digging, throwing, grunting with effort, each man's scoop of earth must have felt useless on its own, but together, the efforts of the tribe and the passing of the years left us this legacy, this green and grassy hummocky ground.


For us, if we are careless, it becomes just a walk on a summer day. Children clamber and scatter noise and laughter; couples wish the earth was lusher, more cushioned, with more hidden dips for their love making; dogs lollop and explore. But when the light begins to fade, and the people melt away, when the sound of the skylark spirals heavenward, it is possible, just for a moment, to feel the hum of activity and the sounds of living that once echoed round this now still and silent place.

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